Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Noy thanks US for Spratly aid commitment

By Delon Porcalla
Philippine Star, Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The joint Philippine-US naval exercises begin today in Palawan, where most of the disputed islets, shoals and reefs are located.

The joint naval maneuver called CARAT 2011 (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2011) would be held near the Sulu Sea.

Two Philippine Navy ships with 300 sailors – BRP Rizal (PS 74) and BRP Pangasinan (PS 31) – will take part in the drill together with the USS Chung-Hoon, USS Howard and USNS Safeguard.

Chung-Hoon and Howard are guided missile destroyers while Safeguard is a dive and salvage

warship of the US 7th Fleet.

US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Morley, CARAT’s point of contact, said the 11-day naval exercise will train the sailors in dealing with different operational problems both in land and at sea.

“Ashore training includes such specialties as Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) exercises; diver training; salvage operations; joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and aircrew familiarization exchanges,” he said.

“The at-sea phase of CARAT focuses on developing maritime security capabilities in areas such as maritime interdiction, information sharing, combined operations at sea, patrol operations and gunnery exercises,” he said.

US servicemen are also set to visit Hulugan Bay in the West Philippine Sea for a scheduled tour of the world renowned Underground River.

“Highlights of CARAT 2011 are the personnel exchange between the two ships for the effective communication of information between the PN and USN; friendship games; and PN-hosted and USN-hosted reception dinners to further strengthen the relationship between the two parties involved,” the Philippine Navy said in a statement.

“Civil military operations are also scheduled to be able to reach out to the residents of Palawan, particularly medical and dental civic action at Barangay Tagabinet; engineering civic action at Barangay Mangingisda Elementary School; and community relation activity at Tagburos Elementary School and Gregorio Oquendo Memorial Elementary School,” the Navy’s press statement said.

Naval show

Meanwhile, naval forces from the Philippines and more than 20 other countries will join a fleet review that will highlight the 3rd Brunei International Defense Exhibition (BRIDEX) in Brunei Darussalam on July 2.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said they will join their counterparts from countries including China, Malaysia and Brunei in the activity to learn more about innovations in defense warfare.

A fleet review is a ceremonial gathering of different navies. Other countries that will send naval personnel and equipment to the review are the US, Pakistan, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.

Tonsay said the Philippine Navy will send the BRP Apolinario Mabini and BRP Mariano Alvarez to the event. The vessels, with combined crew of 105, will leave Sangley Point, Cavite on June 28.

“This activity will enable the crew of the two patrol vessels and members of the organized task group to gain insights and appreciation on technology advancements and industry developments, particularly on defense warfare,” Navy chief Vice Adm. Alexander Pama said.

“BRIDEX also provides an excellent platform for building vital alliances, forging partnerships and capturing new business opportunities in a fast growing South East Asian region,” Tonsay said.


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